The 6th grade Language Arts curriculum in my district includes a unit of study on literary genres, and that’s what my lessons have been focused on this past week. To help me teach about genres, I used many of the resources on Michigan teacher Beth Newingham’s website. If you haven’t been to this site, you’ve got to visit. I’ve taught third, first and sixth grades, and I’ve used many of the resources she provides in all of the grades I’ve taught. She’s fabulous! Her activity “Name that Genre!” inspired me to provide an opportunity for my kids to apply the information they’ve learned about genres with a visit to our school library. I gave each child a copy of a genre hunt sheet and explained to them that they would be hunting for books related to the genres on the hunt sheet. When they found a book that they would be interested in reading, they had to determine the genre of the book, and record the book title and author’s name under the correct genre on the hunt sheet. The goal was to try and find books of interest across all genres.
We spent about 30 minutes in the library on this activity, and the kids were really engaged. Our media specialist was a tremendous asset during this lesson. Between the two of us, we were able to work one-on-one with kids, matching books that would fit their interests and levels across all of the genres. Towards the end of the period, one of my kids rushed up to me, excited that he had ACTUALLY DISCOVERED a historical fiction book he wanted to read! I asked him why he thought he’d like it so much, and he explained that Mrs. D, our media specialist, had picked it out just for him when he told her that he liked mystery but not historical fiction. He described his book as “mysterious historical fiction.” Pleasantly surprised he announced, “It’s two for the price of one!” That’s when I knew this lesson was a keeper!